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What Are Terpenes & Why Are They Important?


Terpenes are naturally occuring organic compounds found in plants. They are responsible for the smell of most plants, fruits, herbs, etc., including cannabis.

Different amounts and combinations of terpenes are unique to every plant. In nature, a plant’s smell is used to both attract and repel insects and animals. For example, a foul-smelling fruit may discourage animals from eating it, while a sweet smelling flower will attract pollinators.

Terpenes vs. Cannabinoids What Are Terpenes?

Unlike cannabinoids, terpenes do not directly contribute to making you feel “high.” But, some terpenes are still considered to be psychoactive because they can affect your brain. While terpenes are responsible for the smell of the plant, some may also affect your brain in a similar way to cannabinoids. The difference is that they are not processed by our bodies in the same way.

Humans brains have their own internal endocannabinoid systems that we use to maintain homeostasis. This system also allows us to process cannabinoids through a network of neurotransmitters and receptors.

For example, THC is a cannabinoid that activates the CB1 receptors in our brain. On the contrast, the cannabinoid CBD restricts activity in the CB1 receptors and also binds to other parts of the body, including 12 targets in the brain alone.

The entourage effect is the theory that terpenes will affect the experience of your high. It works like aromatherapy. Scents from different plant-based essential oils can impact a person’s mood. So while they may not directly be responsible for making you feel “high,” they can certainly play a role in the effects you feel from THC.

In summary, terpenes act as the wheels of a bus, while cannabinoids are the driver. The terpenes aid in the effects that are made possible by the cannabinoid content.


The Most Common Terpenes

α-Bisabolol What Are Terpenes?

Aromas: Floral, Pepper, Wood

Alpha Bisabolol is an essential oil commonly used in cosmetics as a skin soothing agent. It occurs naturally in chamomile and sage. Some research has also shown that Bisabolol may reduce the risk of gastric damage caused by anti-inflammatory drugs.

Camphene What Are Terpenes?

Aromas: Wet, Pine, Woodsy, Earthy

Camphene is very common in cannabis, though it is rarely the most prominant terpene. It is widely appreciated for its ability to fight infections and inflammation, while alleviating stress. Research also supports its antifungal and antiviral properties.


Aromas: Sharp, Spice, Sweet, Wood

Beta Caryophyllene is known for its wide variety of potential physical and mental health benefits. CB2 receptors are targeted when treating pain & inflammation with cannabis, and this terpene has a unique ability to bind to them. It is FDA-approved for use in food & is found in black pepper, cinnamon and basil.

Geraniol What Are Terpenes?

Aromas: Floral, Sugar, Rose

Geraniol shows an ability to fight free radicals, giving it an antioxidant, antitumor and anticancer properties. Studies have shown that it improves cells’ response to chemotherapy treatment. It’s pleasant scent also lends it to use in many perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning agents and more. 

Guaiol What Are Terpenes?

Aromas: Pine, Wood, Rose

Guaiol has been long-trusted as a natural fever treater and pain killer, and its anti-inflammatory properties are associated with treating the discomfort caused by arthritis. Guaiol is also a diuretic, meaning it may even lower blood pressure. Side effects of this terpene may worsen anxiety symptoms.


Aromas: Herbal, Spice, Woody, Earthy

Commonly found in ginseng, ginger and hops, Humulene has been used in natural health practices for hundreds of years due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been reported to act as an appetite suppressant.


Aromas: Citrus, Lemon, Herbal

Limonene is the second most common terpene in nature and can also be found in citrus rinds. It has antioxidant properties and is used in topical products to allow other chemical compounds to pass through the skin faster.


Aromas: Floral, Herbal, Lavender

Linalool is known for its strong calming effects and is used to treat patients with Epilepsy. It is found in rosewood, coriander, lavender, and over 200 species of plants across the world. It has sedative properties and may help alleviate the symptoms of stress and and anxiety.


Aromas: Earthy, Musk, Cloves

Beta Myrcene can be found in parsley, mangoes and hops. It is known to enhance both the mental effects of THC and the health benefits of CBD. Myrcene is a good option for adding an overall boost of relaxation to your experience.


Aromas: Floral, Sweet, Fruity

Widely used as a perfume in cosmetics and cleaners, Nerolidol contributes to the scents of plants such as ginger, lavender, lemongrass and tea tree. It acts as an anti-microbial and anti-fungal and is also known to help consumers sleep.


Aromas: Sweet, Herbal, Woodsy

While Ocimene may cause coughing when inhaled, it also possesses several therapeutic benefits, including anti-convulsant, anti-fungal and anti-tumor and decongestant properties. Research has shown that when paired with Pinene, Ostimene may help manage and prevent certain types of diabetes and hypertension.

Phytol What Are Terpenes?

Aromas: Grass, Balsamic

Phytol has strong sedative effects and is frequently used to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Recent studies have shown Phytol to be an effective treatment against tumors and inflammation.


Aromas: Pine, Rosemary

Alpha Pinene is an anti-microbial compound named after its strong scent of pine trees. It is most known for combatting the memory loss caused by THC use. Many consumers report a boost of energy and brain function when consuming strains high in this terpene.


Aromas: Earthy, Basil, Parsley

Beta Pinene is one of the two compounds that make up Pinene. This terpene has more of a spice to it than its alpha counterpart, and can be found in hops and cumin. Beta Pinene shares many similar cognitive effects as Alpha Pinene.


Aromas: Citrus, Lemon, Pine, Wood

Terpinolene is known for its antioxidant, antiseptic, anti fungal and antibiotic properties. Users report feeling an uplifting and energizing effect from this terpene. When combined with Linalool, it exhibits more sedative effects.

Valencene What Are Terpenes?

Aromas: Sweet, Citrus

Studies have shown Valencene to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, in addition to neuroprotective effects. It also acts as an effective skin protectant, and studies have shown that it may improve cells’ response to chemotherapy treatment.


Savor The Terps

What are Concentrates?

Concentrates, oils and extracts, also known as “dabs,” are products that have been processed to extract both cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant while removing excess plant material. Because of this, concentrates have a much larger concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes than flower alone.

Check out our blog article to learn more about the different types of concentrates available on the market.

However, you don’t need to smoke dabs to enjoy terpenes. Other options include tinctures, topicals and edibles.

Visit Smyth Cannabis Co. Today

Terpene-rich concentrates are just one of the products Smyth Cannabis Co. is proud to produce. Our concentrates are made with our own hand-trimmed flower grown right here in Lowell, MA. Located right off of I-495, our adult-use dispensary offers the highest quality cannabis products, including flower, pre-rolls, edibles and more.

Whether you’re already a terpene fiend or just getting started, our friendly budtenders will help you find a product with a terpene profile you’ll love. Visit us today!


It is important to note that the above information is for educational use only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Smyth Cannabis Co. does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the above information. Individual results will vary. All Smyth Cannabis Co. products are grown for recreational use and do not claim to possess any medical benefits. Smyth Cannabis Co. is a recreational-only dispensary and does not employe medical professionals. Consult your physician before using cannabis for any medical purpose.